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Discardscapes of Fashion: Commodity Biography and Material Geographies of Preconsumer Garment Waste in Cambodia

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Philip Crang, Katherine Brickell, Laurie Parsons, Nithya Natarajan, Thomas Cristofoletti, Naomi Graham

Translated title of the contributionDiscardscapes of fashion: commodity biography, patch geographies, and preconsumer garment waste in Cambodia
Original languageSpanish
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Published4 Jun 2020


King's Authors


This paper advances existing research on both the geographies of fashion and the geographies of waste, utilising their shared interests in commodity biography. Empirically, it documents the use of textile waste from export-oriented garment factories in the peri-urban areas of Phnom Penh, Cambodia as fuel for nearby brick-kilns supplying the city’s booming construction sector. Interviews and documentary photography present the forms of living, labour and harm at both the brick-kilns and the garment dump from which the textile waste is sourced. Substantively, the paper argues for the consideration of preconsumer garment waste to complement the dominant preoccupation with postconsumer waste and reuse. Conceptually, the paper argues for geographical biographies of commodity culture that are attentive to things’ material dynamics of becoming, unbecoming and transformation across spaces, sectors and material forms: that is, to their ‘patch geographies’.

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